PHOENIX – The Pentagon has ordered an Army soldier temporarily housed in Maricopa County's "tent city" jail for being absent without leave returned to military custody, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Friday.
"I think they want to review the program," Arpaio said.
"The unit felt that he had sufficient deterrent and that he had rehabilitated," Fort Huachuca spokesman Maj. Matt Garner said in Sierra Vista.
Garner said the soldier was to be back at the fort by Friday evening "where he will remain for five days' restriction, and the unit will determine whether he is worthy of staying in the unit."
The soldier is a member of the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Earlier this week, Arpaio announced that he had agreed to take prisoners serving sentences for being AWOL at the jail, which houses prisoners in old Army tents.
Officials at Fort Huachuca had said they hoped the soldiers' experiences in the "tent city" would be close to the living accommodations of soldiers in Iraq.
Arpaio said the original decision was a good one, "and I still say it's a good decision. Isn't it amazing that the guy's doing time in a Korean War tent?"
Fort officials were enthusiastic about sending the AWOL soldier to the jail and felt that "this soldier really learned a lot in the hot tent," the sheriff said.
Those officials believe that the heat "is a deterrence," Arpaio said. He added that he had talked to the soldier a few days ago in the tent, "and he said he sure did learn his lesson."
Arpaio said he hopes that the Pentagon will send him more AWOL soldiers.
"We have about 2,000 people, and we can take a few more," he said.